Natural incense reviews, natural perfume reviews, and aromatics

Natural incense reviews, natural perfume reviews, and aromatics


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  • Samhain/Halloween Review Special! Dabney Rose Perfumes: Amberleah and Vagabond-Perfume Solids

    I am quite pleased with how Haus of Waft’s Halloween/Samhain Review Special is going. I was getting worried.”What if I have a product to review, and it isn’t very good? I don’t want to write a negative review or search for more products last minute to replace the unsatisfying ones.” This is what went through my mind a few times. But the literary and review gods blessed the Haus of Waft, probably because this is the Haus’s favorite time of year. Arabesque Aromas came bearing great fragrant aromatics, and then the much talented Dabney Rose conjured up some magical potions and sent them our way.
    Dabney Rose is an esteemed and admired perfumer, for a good reason too. She makes some very high quality perfumes and hydrosols, and she does it naturally. I had been eyeballing her products for awhile but had not gotten the chance to check them out, so you can imagine how happy I was once I checked my mail and found her very new perfume solid Vagabond, and the much loved Amberleah! Yay! Even better was once I smelled and tested them, I realized that not only had my expectations been matched, but they had been exceeded. So here is the review for these charming perfumes.
    When I got home from checking my mail, I had already dabbled the woodsy fresh Vagabond onto my skin, the package did not stand a chance from my mailbox to my house. I held out my arm for my perfume loving mama to sniff, and she declared it a very good perfume. And it made her reminisce. When she was a child, her grandfather, my great grandfather, farmed a small amount of tobacco among other plants. The barn was also full of cedar furniture, and my mama and uncles used to swipe the tobacco stalks and ride them like hobby horses in the barn. She also said there were other fragrant woods and smells in there, and this perfume brought her back to it. She explained it did not smell like a livestock barn, it was more of a hay and tool storage area. Although she and my uncles frequently got in trouble for sneaking off with the stalks, and playing in the barn, she said just the aroma and the adventurous thrills of childhood was worth. Vagabond gives you a thrill like this. Its refreshing, it makes you feel like your home is everywhere.  I do not honestly know if there is tobacco in this, or cedar, although I am pretty sure of the cedar, and there is a golden hay note I pick up. What Vagabond captured for me was a different story. I felt a man, a young man who loves to travel, which is good, because the perfumes name is Vagabond. This man loves to explore nature, so he sticks to the trails of the mountains, the farmlands, the sandy coasts, and the sumptuous foothills. He prefers to sleep near firs and evergreens at night, they bring good dreams to him. And in the morning he cooks a trout over hickory wood. His coat always smells like tobacco and cotton, not cigarette tobacco, just raw farm tobacco, the smell of his forefathers. He has a walking stick made of cedar, and in his backpack, there is a piece of a silky blouse that he takes out time to time to sniff, the fabric is covered in a indescribable feminine perfume, from a woman he travels around the country side, trying to find her again. . .
    When I went to a family event this weekend, so many people fell in love with this fragrance. Although it is, I believe, right now worn mostly on women, a young man asked to wear a little of it. His date hung all over him throughout the night, commenting here and there about how alluring he smelled. So I truly think that Vagabond, with its earthiness and exciting fresh fragrance could easily cross over to the men folk. On a woman Vagabond seems to pull forward a certain feminine vibe, but on men, it does the opposite. It encourages you to think of the wearer as maybe a little rugged, and outdoorsy. It evolves on the skin for both genders, settling down to a sweeter note, and making itself at home. Since I tried the solid, the sillage was great, and it lasted for many hours. I love this perfume.
    I think Amberleah already has a following, and it can add another as its fan now. Amberleah intrigued me from the get go because it has a perfume ingredient that is not at all common, ghee. Ghee is a clarified butter, used in Indian cuisines and other foods. Dabney took this rich butter, and made me want to slather myself  like toast with it. Amberleah is deeply feminine, and I mean deeply. There is something magical about it, and it seems to create a vibrancy on the skin that draws those closer, even though I had it as a perfume solid and was not overly strong. Amberleah in my mind, is an alter spread before me with exotic pieces from faraway places, where maybe your dreams can only touch now because some of these places are probably from a time long time passed. There is a fragrant amber oil in a bowl, and  natural beeswax candles burn brightly in the dark of the night. There are prayer beads, made of light florals, and a cup full of decadent spices has tipped over quietly on the satin alter cloth, there is a mysterious smoke filled with sweet aroma all around the alter, and you are having a spiritual experience. This is Amberleah. It’s a fragrance that could easily be worn for the sacred times in your life. It has a seductive quality too, ask the site owner, lol.
    Dabney Rose also has this ability with her perfumes, and i don’t know how she does
    it. She can take fragrant ingredients it seems, and marry them in such a way that you can not just pick each little note out. It forms into this complete entity, complex but rounded into a even aroma. This is a rare talent. It is not something I have seen often, and she has done it best. It isn’t just amber with floral and spices, it is. . .well it becomes one.
    The world of naturally perfumery has a real gem in their midst. Thank you Dabney for making my life a little more pleasant with your blends!
    To try these smell pretties on your own go to http://www.dabney-rose.com/


  • Halloween/Samhain Review Special! Arabesque Aromas: Serafina, Verditas, The Golden Bough and Kyphi (incense)

    Samhain, Halloween, All Hallow Eve, Day of The Dead- Whatever you call this upcoming day, it’s known across the globe. She curls her ancient finger hither, luring us to recognize her sooner than later. Dry and morbidly seductive dead leaves crunch under feet of all sizes. For some, this approaching date means a new start, well at least for me it usually does. Candy wrappers with residue scent your home, and dentists rake in the $$$ because of their deliciousness. It’s a wonderful time for fragrance. And pleasant things and changes happen to me. It came not from a pumpkin pie or some sort of red meat, but through Arabesque Aromas.
    I found Arabesque Aromas through Etsy. I was hunting around for something to try, something I was not familiar with. I saw a listing for a natural perfume called Verditas, “Intriguing” I thought to myself. And the description she wrote for it caused even more interest on my part-

    Hildegard von Bingen, a German Abbess, composer, herbalist and mystic 1098-1179, wrote about the concept of ‘Veriditas’ in her book “Physica.”
    She wrote in the middle High German colloquial and so the term, which she herself created, has been assigned several translations or meanings. A hybrid of the Latin word for truth, Veritas, and the Latin word for green, Veridis, Veriditas can be thought of as ‘greenness’ a spiritual term used to describe her vision of the green power of Nature and the unity of all creation.”

    So I got it. I also received her house Kyphi, her other two perfumes, Seraphina, and The Golden Bough.
    I am going to start off with Seraphina, the very first one I dropped on to my skin.  I refused to read the ingredients first, so I could test my NoseQ.On my skin, in the first few minutes I could pick up the warmth of orange, a lovely gentle orange, not a loud citrus, and quickly it introduced the queen and king of flowers: Rose and jasmine (sambac). If this perfume was a royal court and rose & jasmine are the monarchs, then the tuberose that rolled out was a happy little princess, displaying just a little sugar and a charming amount of sweet spice. She was almost devilishly girly, but her parents and the minstrel (orange) kept her in balance. My wrist and other points that had been caressed by this majestic court smelled lovely. Another member was quickly noticed, the scandalous, but always calm, Lady Angelica Root. After an hour or so the aristocracy played on, the kingly jasmine partied harder then the rest at this point, the queenly rose laughing.  The lady Angelica Root, taking a page from Josephine Bonaparte’s beauty book, and leaving a musky aroma lightly behind. This was a perfume that will take you places, and make you feel like you are a honored guest at a noble feast. My mother is very picky these days about perfume, and she adored Serafina. Serafina is actually based on the heavenly creatures, the Seraphim’s. But I went where I went. Lovely…
    The concept for Verditas was explained above. It was what drew me in. The perfume oil contained vetiver root in the bottle, causing me to think of a woman in robes, and a pelican apparatus placed comfortably in a room filled with books and dust. And the image stayed as it sat on my skin. I don’t think I have experienced vetiver like this before! The robed woman is working over papers, candles are alight, and a smoke scented with vetiver drifts through the air. This is a mysterious smoky vetiver, and the wood in the room is cedar. Cedar mingles perfectly and politely subtle with the vetiver, while a sly eyed vanilla and a young benzoin pets the vetiver openly. The Lady Alchemist in my imagination wears this perfume, and when she does, it unfolds from it’s simple vetiver beginning until a fragrance that makes this studious woman become sultry, and powerful. What Arabesque Aromas  has done, is something unique with vetiver, she has altered how I feel him. The owner of the site adores this scent on me, as do I. It has great staying power, with the vetiver obviously evolving through the time you wear him. An outstanding perfume.
    The Golden Bough- A book of folklore loved by modern pagans, folklore lovers, and esoteric nerds (the site owner at times) alike.
    The Golden Bough by Arabesque Aromas- A concept about medieval pilgrims journey and traveling the labyrinth to the gold at the center.
    But they both are magical pieces of art. It must be understood that lavender is not just lavender, just like one mountain peak is not just like any other mountain peak. I dripped this perfume oil onto my skin, drifting away into the Tasmanian lavender. A sweet floral it is, but not too sweet. A woody rescuer of sandalwood, and his regal friend jasmine sambac prevent the lavender from purpling the cottage walls up. Because this is the scent of a woman who knows her plants and herbs. She is simple in method but cunning, and can not be accurately imitated. In this cottage is a cat, and his name is Bergamot, and he will not stand for the atmosphere to be boring. And he does this well. He adds spice and spark to this comforting blend. I like it, it makes the title “The Golden Bough” it’s own. I now think of it and will always, when I hear those words aloud.  This perfume is very suitable for Fall, but I can easily see it fitting well into spring, right around the time the apple trees bloom. If you like sweet, but not fruity sweet, and not too floral sweet, then this is your blend.
    I am so glad Kirsten Schilling (the  perfumer of Arabesque Aromas) sent me her loose Kyphi incense. I have come across many Kyphi incense in the past that were not to my taste or expectations. So I just did not review them. This Kyphi is very much worth a review. I can not claim I know the details that involve the making of Kyphi, but I can tell you I know it takes more time and labor than most incense. Another thing I want to state is that I can tell that the ingredients used in this incense were of high quality. So what did I smell when I laid the chunky loose incense on the charcoal? I smelled honey, a rich golden honey, something from a time past, and myrrh right off. I truly felt this must be what it was like to sniff the incense of Egypt, years and years ago. Cardamom and cinnamon bark cast a spicy brown aroma, smoothed by sandalwood and benzoin. Lemongrass gave it a slight, earthy anchor to keep the spices and the sweeter scents from tipping it too far into one direction. Rose, she garbs herself in a different mask when she mixes with fire, and she calmed all around her. My favorite, delightful orris, was there to lend a  bridge from the ancient world to ours. And the raisins and redwine, with quiet galangal, they were there to show what real hedonism is. Mastic and calamus root made an astounding effort to support lemongrass’s earthly efforts. I truly appreciate this incense, it told me what I wanted all the others to tell me, “This is what Kyphi is to smell like”. It burned well, and just like most incense sat upon hot charcoal, it does get smoky, but not nearly as aggressively as others.
    Arabesque Aromas has really brought something to natural perfumery. Kirsten Schilling focus on period aromas, but at the same time, each one I have experienced is all hers. I was happily surprised by this perfume house and the perfumer. A true fragrant original.


  • Perfume News-Dabney Rose’s Vagabond Has Arrived!

    Vagabond has been launched officially now. The natural perfumer Dabney Rose, who has created other much loved fragrances, like the unique Amberleah, has birthed another solid perfume, Vagabond- A Forest of Woods. Vagabond is mysteriously, and almost nostalgically described : Lifetimes on a dusty trail,softened with the notes of an open heart. I get the feeling this perfume will intrigue and summon the earthy girls, and the ones that find beauty in the shady part of nature. If you want to purchase this or any of Dabney Rose’s fragrant goods, go to her site here-http://www.dabney-rose.com/ . And remember, Dabney Rose is a NATURAL perfumer, so her perfumes are natural, which makes me want Vagabond even more!


  • Just Dropping In-Perfume News, Upcoming Blogs

    No reviews today or weird ramblings. However, I would like to say that I am working on a new page here, about authenticities in the market of incense and perfumery ingredients. Just like all the things I type here, it won’t be an exhaustive article, but some may find it of use. Oh, and I am miffed. I recently, well about three months ago, spent a good amount on a sandalwood essential oil, S. album, and when I decided to crack it open and work with it, I found it to be a fake. After looking around, I found that the brand is known for their precious oils to be. . lacking. Oh well, live and learn.
    I plan to do a sort of Halloween review blowout.

    And in perfume news, the talented natural perfumer, Dabney Rose, is working on a new solid perfume called Vagabond, that seems like it will be another gem from her collection. It’s not very new news,but she has produced some very fascinating floral waters, not to mention the high quality rose, tuberose, and lichen hydrosols she makes. I have heard that her hydrosols may some of the best available. Check her store out if you like at http://www.dabney-rose.com/


  • Pacifica Solid Perfume-Spanish Amber and Incense News

    In all honesty, I have a preference for natural aromatics over the main commercially available ones. I can appreciate and even become fond of a perfume or incense if it is made well, not harmful and is not 100% percent natural, but my tastes will always favor things from nature.
    I was wandering around a natural foods store in “The Land of the Sky”, (Asheville), and I saw the little row of Pacifica perfumes on a shelf in the beauty/hygiene area of the store. The solid perfumes were on sale, my attention was caught. I was in a rush so I just scooped up the Spanish Amber and ran out of the store before they could call the police. . . .
    Nah, I’m just messing with you. I bought it. I wanted the Spanish Amber because I wanted to try something a little different. I like amber, or amber accords  just fine, I just don’t have a lot of ambers in my collection. At the store they had the solid’s tester, but I figured if I didn’t like it, or it didn’t like me, I would just gift it to someone.
    When I smelled it out of the decorative metal tin, I could smell the labdanum in it immediately. Ah, wonderful, brazen at times, labdanum. When I applied it, the elemi cracked a gaped tooth grin at me, with bergamot peaking behind her. Lovely, dark and friendly at the same time. Then there was a greener note, floral green. This one was a mystery to me for a whole day, until it shouted that it was geranium, rose geranium to be correct. It did not stay on my skin very long (the geranium). The woody note I ended up finding after the elemi and bergamot introduced themselves, was a soft sandalwood, but I’m thinking it’s the Australian species, because of it was slightly sharper, although I may be wrong on this.
    The solid is made of soy and coconut base with the essential oils added for scent. It stayed on my skin for a good few hours, and although it was a little greasy at first, that goes away after about a half hour. After awhile the labdanum was more apparent than the others, although the sandalwoods light push of woodiness was lingering there too.
    The box and tin are so unique and pleasant to look at. Spanish Amber’s packaging consists of a red, that I could definitely see as a “Spanish” red, a little darker, regal, and there was a gold trim and flowers all over it, nice.
    Another neat factor with just solid perfumes in general is that they are usually cheaper, even with quality ingredients included. And they are valuable for preventing a awkward or irritating situation. Example: Most solid perfumes keep there scent close to your skin (minimum sillage), so pesky perfume-a-phobes or those who may not like your scent selection, will not have the chance to get uppity about your fragrant pleasure. And if they can still smell you, then they are probably to close to you to begin with, or they are really a bloodhound in disguise.

    By the wayEssence of the Ages, a online incense shop, has gotten some new Direct Help Foundation and Bhim Lama incense in, along with some others. I haven’t tried them yet of course, but look forward to doing so when I can.


  • Versace The Dreamer & Ranka (Orchid) by Shoyeido

    I found myself digging through some boxes last Monday that I had placed some where in the deep depths of a dark hell, aka-my closet. As I clamored through everything, making sure it was three in the morning, and disturbing the household, I caught a smell from a little tattered cardboard box. It smelled like something a little alcohol like, “hmm,sweeeeet!” I thought as I tore open the flaps. After sifting through some papers, I came across a beautiful bottle with a goddess like face raised in glass and a Greek style pattern at the top of the bottle. “Oh, yes! The Versace I was given awhile back” I said loudly.
    A few years ago my grandmother passed on.I was given some various this and thats to remember her by. For some reason, she had a bottle of men’s Versace, specifically Versace The Dreamer. I never figured out why she had this, as she was a strictly floral oriental type of lady, and I’m sure it wasn’t some sentimental action towards my grandfather that made her have this bottle. It was only about one fourth full, and why I packed it up is still a mystery.
    It’s a oriental woody fougere fragrance, and it hints at sage, lavender, and tobacco. I smell the lavender right off, it’s a very manly lavender, and the citrus was just enough to make this a delight to my senses. There was floral, from the notes of rose and I’m guessing geranium? The only flaw I saw with the floral notes, is that when they are first on the skin, there are at times during the first five to ten minutes, a medium strength synthetic note, which so far has been apparent on every person I  have tested it on. The tobacco notes are not offensive to me, although I think tobacco notes in  perfumery are given a unfair judgement by some. People sometimes associate tobacco notes as cigarette or ashtray notes, and that’s not necessarily true. It is easy to relate those aromas together, since they share the same source. Yes, there are some perfumes that smell closer to a cigarette or cigar,but the majority of quality perfumers just play on the sweet and natural plant note tobacco. Sorry, I went somewhere else for a moment….
    Anyway, Dreamer is nice, and was decent on me, The silage is ok, it doesn’t reach it’s invisible aromatic arms out and strangle anyone in a two to four foot radius . It lasted on my skin for roughly three to four hours, and cedar mingles with the tobacco and sweet citrus, with the  floral taking a rest in the background.This was all good with me, but I sprayed this on the owner of the site, and wow, it was nice. The tobacco and lavender rolled around on this guy,making you think of a serious man with laughter behind the eyes, at your cost. The tobacco notes stayed on him, and the cedar made waves after a hour or so.It is floral but this guy is all manly and such, and it worked well with him.
    Now to the incense. I have one of the large boxes of Shoyeido’s Ranka. You may see it listed sometimes as one of their daily incenses, but is not in the
    daily line (think Nokiba, Haku- un, and Kyo- noshiki .) This was one of my first Japanese incense purchases, way back in the day. I liked it then, but was always irritated by the subtlety. It is still subtle in my opinion, when compared to other Japanese incenses, which are usually described as that already. It’s basically a floral sandalwood, which I like alright. It wasn’t floral sweet, it was floral powdery, and it is nice for those times when you are kind of wanting to just zone off in a book or television. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean it’s inferior, or disinteresting, it’s just provides that sort of atmosphere for me. I would totally suggest it to those that are getting into Japanese incense because they heard of it’s less in your face trait.


  • The Essence of the Sex Pistols-A Note

    In May this year, Sephora France started carrying a perfume called Sex Pistols ThePerfume (Le Parfum Sex Pistols), or God Save the Queen. I just now caught wind of this today, so I’m a little late on the game. I think it hits stores next month, just in time for me to buy a one for me, and one as a holiday gift for my dear cousin, who is a big fan of their music. It is described as having notes of leather (rocker leather? Is there a difference? There should be.), black pepper, in your face ambrette (this is hard for me to imagine, because even the most masculine like ambrette comes off as a lady like actress from the 40′s in my mind,) raunchy patchouli, (this I can see) , lemon, aldehydes,heliotrope, and the turbulence of  a prune, ( haha!). It all sounds pretty nice, and I look forward to smelling it soon. The house producing it is Etat Libre d’Orange, which honestly is a house I have never tried, so it will be a first for me.



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